Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Saint Mary MacKillop’s canonisation

13 October 2020
Our Diocesan Patron, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Photo: Used with permission of the Trustees of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.


This Saturday 17 October 2020 will mark the 10th anniversary of Saint Mary MacKillop’s canonisation at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, declaring her Australia’s first canonised saint. Pope Benedict XVI addressed tens of thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square. About 9000 Australians travelled to celebrate this occasion.

For Catholic, Christian and secular Australians, it was a meaningful moment, celebrating the values at the heart of what it means to be Australian, as well as her witness to the sacred in everyday life. 10 years on, the Sisters of Saint Joseph invite the Australian community to take this opportunity to reflect on what the canonisation of Saint Mary MacKillop meant to Australians then, and what it means to us now.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Mary MacKillop and the wonderful life and legacy she left behind, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart are pleased to remember her with commemorative prayers, videos, and a global vigil in her honour.

Inspiring all Australians to take courage and maintain hope as Mary did throughout her life, the theme chosen for this celebration is ‘Take Fresh Courage’. This theme chosen against the backdrop of the many challenges Australians have faced in 2020 is taken from a letter written by St Mary MacKillop in 1877.

On 16 October 2020 at 8pm AEDT, the Sisters of Saint Joseph will hold Courage Hour, a global vigil of deep peace, prayer, and reflection. The Sisters invite all who may wish to participate to join the Vigil online and celebrate Mary’s life and follow her lead to ‘Take Fresh Courage’.

Sister Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, said, “The 10th anniversary of Saint Mary MacKillop’s canonisation is a chance for us to reflect on Mary’s legacy and the valuable lessons her life experiences have taught us.

“She faced hard times and adversity over the years, from her family’s poverty to the loss of many loved ones throughout her life. She carried on, strengthened by her faith and her determination to serve others. She worked hard, travelled widely, and spoke courageously in love. She was a woman of strong convictions and great energy who treasured friendship and family. Mary always had a place in her heart for those most challenged by life’s circumstances.

“I am proud that the Sisters of Saint Joseph continue to follow in her footsteps today and people from around the world find inspiration in her example.

“10 years on from the day when Pope Benedict XVI declared her a Saint, people everywhere are invited to take this moment to remember Mary’s faith, tenacity and dedication to others, and her inspiration to ‘Take Fresh Courage.’”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions there will be no formal celebrations at Mary MacKillop Place for the anniversary, however, the Sisters invite you to celebrate this occasion by engaging with the resources available on www.sosj.org.au/10th-anniversary/.

With thanks to the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.


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